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What are some important LGBT movements or campaigns in American history?

Mar. 05, 2024, 11:00 AM Release

The development of the LGBT movement in the United States:

1945-1969, "Homophile Movement". "Phile" is the Greek word for "love", and Philadelphia also comes from this root. The goal of the movement at this stage is simply to gain social tolerance; the organization is small and few, secretive and underground; the movement strategy and point of view are that "except for sexual behavior, there is actually no difference between gays and straights." At that time, the main gathering places for gays were bars in densely populated areas, especially near factories. This was partly because the proportion of lesbians among female workers in factories was particularly high - heterosexual women tended to rely on their husbands, while lesbians were more likely to seek help from their husbands. Work and live independently. There was once a term called "Boston marriage", which refers to two women living together and helping and supporting each other. This is because Boston was a large industrial city at the time, and only there could women survive independently. In fact, the self-sufficient life style of Chinese "self-combing girls" is also the same. Gay people at that time also had a particularly romantic nickname called "Twilight Lovers" because they always appeared in the twilight.

Next is the period of "Gay Liberation" from 1969 to 1974. At that time, the civil rights movement was in full swing, social concepts were quite open, and feminists began to fight for their own rights. The demands of the gay community have also changed from "social tolerance" to striving to change society's views on sex, love and gender.

The Stonewall Incident in 1969 was a major turning point. At that time, the police raided the Stonewall Bar in New York. Because the gay community had long been harassed by the police for extortion, a riot broke out. This was the first spontaneous resistance of the gay community. Many historians regard the Stonewall Incident as the beginning of the LGBT movement in the United States. The Stonewall Bar is still there and the street is now called Gay Street. On November 2 of the same year, New York launched its first Pride Parade.

In 1973, the U.S. government and psychological organizations officially depathologized homosexuality—it was no longer considered a mental illness and no longer permitted forced “treatment.” On May 17, 1990, the International Health Organization depathologized homosexuality, and May 17 is now known as the "International Day Against Homophobia". However, China still has institutions for compulsory treatment of homosexuals, and there are also cases of parents sending their gay children to mental hospitals.

The period from 1975 to 1983 was the "Gay Rights" Movement. At this time, the movement began to focus on gaining more political and legal rights for LGBT people, starting to work with politicians and members of Congress, but it also began to exclude people such as transgender and intersex people from the movement.

In 1988, October 10 was established as National Coming-out Day. In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a law making it illegal to discriminate against HIV carriers. This provision was later re-passed several times. In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws that made homosexual intercourse illegal in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage; in 2010, the U.S. military abolished the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and began allowing soldiers to come out.

In 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States.


So, the LGBT movement in the United States and the West has the following demands, which can also be inspiring for our country’s LGBT movement.

The first is social equality, which includes political, social and legal equality, such as fighting for anti-discrimination legislation - some places do not allow gays to be primary school teachers because they think they will sexually harass students. This kind of discrimination should be prohibited by legislation; such as fighting for same-sex marriage. rights; and the right to economic equality. For example, when same-sex marriage was illegal in California, the salary of gay employees hired by Google was higher than that of heterosexual employees, because heterosexuals have tax exemptions after marriage, but gays do not.

The second demand is the establishment of gay community and culture - Gayborhood, Gay community, etc., and Pink Economy, which is to use gay demands to stimulate the economy, which is mainly the tourism industry. Many travel brochures (such as Lonely Planet) have special columns for introduction Places like gay bars. This is to eliminate the loneliness of gays, because in a society dominated by heterosexuality, many gays will go through a period of "thinking that they are the only gay in the world", which is very scary.

The third demand is to make gay people more open and proud, including pride parades and coming out days. Being more open is to enhance visibility, because "invisibility" is often tied to shame, and if the most intimate relationships cannot be made public, it will cause great psychological pressure.

The above demands are unanimously agreed upon by all gay groups. But there are divisions within the gay movement, and one of the most heated debates is: What is the ultimate goal of the movement? Is it changing the gay people themselves, or is it changing American society’s views on sex and love? Who should be included in the movement? Are transgender and intersex people included? These debates continue to this day. Some organizations have always only catered to gay people or the LGBTQ community, while others have always catered to society as a whole.

Source: Zhihu Author: SanMu in Yummy

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